at Sentrum Scene, Oslo, Norway, October 21, 2005

BLACKMORE’S NIGHT (Live at Sentrum Scene, Oslo, Norway, October 21, 2005)
Photo: Per Olav Heimstad

Ritchie Blackmore used to be one of Rock’s greatest guitar players. During legendary years in Deep Purple and Rainbow, he took part in writing a huge number of immortal Rock classics, but that’s ages past. Blackmore left the Hard Rock scene years ago, and his last recordings have all concentrated on Medieval Folk Music.

So, when you go to see Blackmore’s Night live, you will not get much of the old compositions that once made his name famous. This event was, by some hundreds, to be witnessed in Oslo on the 21st of October. The fan club members in the reserved front rows did not seem to mind that Blackmore was neglecting the major parts of his career as much as he did. Dressed up in Middle Age clothes, they were nothing but happy about an evening with Robin Hood Polka. Concerning the rest of the audience, it would be safe to assume that quite a few were hoping they, to more than just a minor degree, would be treated with songs associated with the mid-70s, rather than music associated with the middle parts of the last millennium.

Anyway, luckily enough for everybody, Candice Night sings very well, even when you are not considering all the reverb she was given from the mixing table. She’s also clever at communicating with the audience. Ritchie, on the other hand, did not share a single word from the stage the whole evening.

The band, beside Candice and Ritchie, consisted of a second guitar player, a keyboard player, a violinist, a drummer, and a couple of backing vocalists. They all were passionate about their Middle Age music, and tried their best to take the audience “back to simpler times”, as Candice put it (“Simpler times”… besides famines, plagues, and general low life expectancy, that is). From time to time, Blackmore’s guitar sound was drowning a bit in the mix, but during the show he managed to prove that he’s still one really fine guitar player.

Some songs were quite successful. “Shadow Of The Moon,” from their debut album, worked well as an opener, and both “Under A Violet Moon” and “Fires At Midnight” received great response from the crowd. “Home Again,” from the Fires After Midnight album, easily made the audience get up from their seats.

Still, not surprisingly, it was the two Deep Purple classics “Soldier Of Fortune” and “Child In Time” that got the biggest applause. These two were the only Purple-area compositions Blackmore would offer his fans this evening, and the latter was even a short version. Only one Rainbow tune was added to the evening’s set, a kind of strange but atmospheric version of “Ariel.” However, more oldies were spotted on the set list laying on the stage, but they never got played. Read on.

Communication problems within the band were obvious. Candice and the rest of the group never seemed to know for sure when Blackmore would change his mind on the order of the set list, or if he would leave any of the numbers out. One time Candice spent quite a while on introducing a song, telling about how they had discovered the tune, but before she got to finish the story, Blackmore had decided to play a different one.

After the main set, the band re-entered for the encores. At this point, Blackmore, disreputable for his mood swings, looked grumpy, and after the second extra number, he just left the stage without addressing any kind of farewell gesture to the audience. Candice and the band were left gaping, waiting for some seconds, looking if Ritchie would come back. When they realized he wouldn’t, they applauded the audience and themselves and left the stage too. At that point, the set list on the stage floor revealed that the classics “Black Night,” “Temple Of The King,” and “Sixteenth Century Greensleeves” originally were considered, but at the end left out. Sigh.


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